Question mark over hanging of BKI terrorist Rajoana
March 31 hanging of Sikh terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana in the
assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh appeared
unsure Monday after the Patiala jail superintendent approached a »
Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death in the
1995 assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, is
to hang as scheduled on March 31, a Chandigarh court ruled Tuesday
as opposition began building up in some places in Punjab to
protest the hanging.
As per the court's orders, Rajoana has to be hanged Saturday
(March 31) at 9 a.m. in the Patiala jail premises.
The court returned the warrant of death of Rajoana to the Patiala
jail authorities. The court also issued a showcause notice for
contempt of court to Patiala prison jail superintendent L.S.
Jakhar for returning the warrant of death earlier.
The Patiala superintendent had Monday moved a petition in the
court of additional district and sessions judge Shalini Singh
Nagpal here seeking deferment of Rajoana's hanging.
In the petition, the jail superintendent had said that the matter
relating to two other terrorists, Jagtar Singh Hawara and
Lakhwinder Singh, who were also convicted in the Beant Singh
assassination case, was pending before the Supreme Court and
Rajoana could not be hanged while this was pending.
Meanwhile, the case seeking deferment of Rajoana's hanging would
be taken up in the Punjab and Haryana High Court here Wednesday, a
senior law officer of the Punjab government told media persons
outside the district courts here.
Sources here said that the Patiala jail superintendent, despite
the contempt showcause notice from the court, Tuesday again
refused to accept the warrant of death citing legal issues.
Authorities in Punjab have beefed up security arrangements across
the state in view of the latest orders of the court directing that
Rajoana be hanged.
Nearly 60,000 Punjab police personnel and 15 companies of para-military
forces have been put on alert. The security forces have taken out
flag marches in some cities and towns since Monday.
In Jalandhar and a couple of other places, people carried out
protests against the move to hang Rajoana.
A former Punjab Police constable, Rajoana has refused to defend
himself in the Beant Singh assassination case saying that he was
While the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, the Punjab government and
the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have come out
openly to support the campaign to save him from the gallows,
Rajoana has, through a letter, asked the Akali Dal to refrain from
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Monday that there was a
possibility of the BKI terrorist getting relief. Badal said the
hanging of Rajoana could not be carried out in the present
circumstances as there is a possibility of his getting relief in
the assassination case.
The matter of two other terrorists, Jagtar Singh Hawara and
Lakhwinder Singh, convicted in the same case, is pending before
the Supreme Court. The CBI has approached the Supreme Court in
Hawara's case as his death sentence, awarded by the CBI special
court in 2007, was commuted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court
in 2010 to life imprisonment. The appeal of Lakhwinder Singh
against his conviction is also pending.
However, the high court had upheld Rajoana's death sentence in the
case as he had refused to defend himself.
Beant Singh, Punjab chief minister between 1992 and 1995 and
largely credited with wiping out terrorism from the state, was
assassinated by a human bomb, Dilawar Singh, at the high security
Punjab civil secretariat here Aug 31, 1995.
While Hawara was the mastermind of the assassination, Rajoana was
the second human bomb to be used in case the first assassin
failed. Rajoana, during the entire 11-year trial, had admitted
that he alone was responsible for the killing of Beant Singh.
The family members of Beant Singh have also stated that they had
forgiven Rajoana and that his death sentence be converted to life